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2009, RIP, Obituaries of Players We're No Longer Considering

RIP, Players Falling Off the 2009 Ballot

Matt Williams, SIWhile we really ate into our backlog by electing Roy White and Sal Bando on Friday, we did no such work in terms of obituaries. Our backlog shrinks, but it still consists of eight players. George Gore, Pud Galvin, and Jim McCormick have stumped us since 1901. We’ve been considering Clark Griffith since 1916. Heinie Groh and Wilbur Cooper have been around since the 1936 election. Harmon Killebrew premiered in 1981, and Tommy John has been on our ballot since 1995.

Mark Grace and Matt Williams were kind of interesting players this election, but they and four other newbies were all reasonably easy kills. With those six down, we’ve now eliminated 498 players and elected 191 into the Hall of Miller and Eric in our 49 elections. There are 24 players to go to fill our HoME, and in our remaining six elections, we have 64 more to review from our original 752. That means we’re looking at putting 37.5% of the remaining population into the HoME.

Below is the tally from each election since our first in 1901.

Year   Carried     New      Considered   Elected   Obituaries  Continuing to
         Over    Nominees  this Election                       Next Election
2009      10         8          18          4           6            8
2008      11         7          18          2           6           10 
2007      12        15          27          5          11           11
2006      13         5          18          1           5           12
2005      12         8          20          2           5           13
2004      13         8          21          4           5           12
2003      14         7          21          2           6           13
2002      18         7          25          6           5           14
2001      23         8          31          2          11           18
2000      26         9          35          1          11           23
1999      30         9          39          4           9           26
1998      33         9          42          4           8           30
1997      40         3          43          3           7           33
1996      42         7          49          4           5           40
1995      41        11          52          4           6           42
1994      38       8+1          47          3           3           41
1993      41         9          50          3           9           38
1992      40        10          50          3           6           41
1991      40         9          49          1           8           40
1990      42         9          51          3           8           40
1989      45        10          55          6           7           42
1988      44         7          51          2           4           45   
1987      44         3          47          0           3           44
1986      44         4          48          1           3           44
1985      47        10          57          1          12           44
1984      50         5          55          2           6           47
1983      52         8          60          5           5           50
1982      51         8          59          3           4           52
1981      59         8          67          1          15           51
1980      59         8          67          3           5           59
1979      67         6          73          6           8           59
1978      78         6          84          5          12           67
1977      86         6          92          2          11           79
1976      82        26         108          6          16           86
1971      87        21         108          6          20           82
1966      94        26         120          7          26           87
1961      91        24         115          6          15           94
1956      92        32         124          7          26           91
1951      93        27         120          9          19           92
1946      94        26         120          8          19           93
1941      82        29         111          5          12           94
1936      75        29         104          8          14           82
1931      69        17          86          2           9           75
1926      71        25          96          9          18           69
1921      66        27          93          4          18           71
1916      53        31          84          5          13           66
1911      47        20          67          5           9           53
1906      33        28          61          3          11           47
1901       0        54          54          3          18           33

Dead in 2009

Jay BellAt his peak, Jay Bell was a heck of a player. A middle infielder for 18 seasons who won a Gold Glove and made two All-Star games, Bell had seven seasons of 4-win play. But there wasn’t much more. He’ll always be remembered as the guy who scored the winning run after the Luis Gonzalez bloop against Mariano and the Yankees in the 2001 World Series.

John BurkettNot too many people would think of John Burkett as a two-sport star, but the man with double figure perfect games in bowling certainly is. Burkett led the NL in wins in 1993 when he made the first of his two All-Star teams, and he won 166 games overall. He also owns a pair of Division Series wins, but he never won in the LCS or made it to the WS. Burkett is just about the worst pitcher we’ve considered, with just one season of over 2.5 WAR. He’s kind of similar to Rudy May.

Andres GalarragaFor a sense of just how much Coors Field has inflated offense in the past, check out Andres Galarraga. In Colorado in 1996, he led the NL with 47 HR and 150 RBIs, yet he only produced about 4 WAR. The Big Cat added another ribbie title and a batting title in Colorado. He also made five All-Star teams and won a couple of Gold Gloves. Coors aside, Galarraga was a fine player for the Rockies as well as with the Expos and Braves, sort of similar to Mickey Vernon or Wally Joyner.

Ron GantTwo-time All-Star and two-time 30/30 club member Ron Gant played 16 years in the majors and totaled over 300 HR and over 1000 RBI and R. He never led the league in anything but did hit 26+ home runs seven times. He also homered eight times in the playoffs, though he never won a World Series. Overall, he’s pretty similar to Dusty Baker and Don Buford in terms of career value.

Mark GraceWith little power for a first baseman, Mark Grace needed to hit for average. And he did. To the tune of a .303 career mark. He also won four Gold Gloves, made three All-Star teams and led the NL with 51 doubles in 1995. Trivially, Grace had more hits than any player in the 1990s. That makes him the only player eligible for the Hall to lead in any decade and not be elected. And even though he fell of the ballot after just one election, he’s quite similar to a Hall ballot lifer, Don Mattingly.

With 43 homers at the time of the 1994 player strike, Matt Williams was on pace to break Roger Maris’ home run record. Had he, perhaps the entire landscape of the Steroid Era would have changed. Or not. In addition to that HR title, Williams won an RBI crown, four Gold Gloves, and made five All-Star teams. With 378 career dingers, Williams was like Lave Cross or Ezra Sutton, about 30th of retired third sackers.

That’s it for 2009. Check out our Honorees page to see the plaques of our new members and all of the HoMErs. And check back here after the 2010 election for more obituaries.

Miller

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